Category Archives: Songs

Rhapsody in Blue

Today is the anniversary of the 1924 premiere in New York City of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. As a clarinet player, I always loved the opening clarinet slide, and was always so frustrated when I couldn’t replicate it.  I recently learned that Gershwin initially wrote the piece for two pianos, and it was orchestrated for Whiteman by Ferde Grofe, yes, he of the Grand Canon Suite.  Grofe was considered quite a jazz composer and arranger, which I also find surprising.

I love Gershwin’s music, especially his popular songs.  I wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t died so tragically young.

What is your favorite Gershwin music? What contemporaries of Gershwin do you like?

Keeping Warm

Photo from IMBd.

I’m not sure why but the cold weather this week found me yearning for our old Monday morning song by the Sons of the Pioneers. Luckily you can find this kind of thing on the internet.  I’ve played it several times over the past few days.  It doesn’t warm me up physically, but gives me an inside warmth that comes with good memories.

Here’s another:

Just one more:

What warms your heart?

Just the Right Space

Last night Husband and I attended the local college Christmas concert featuring the band, choruses, community Choral Union,  and a small string group from Bismarck.  The highlight of the concert was Handel’s Messiah. It was wonderful.

Our college music department had a good reputation but fell on hard times a few years ago. They have repopulated the faculty with some really fine teachers. We also have a strong city music community,  and are blessed with very fine community vocalists and musicians.

The concert was not held in the cavernous college auditorium, but in a terrific space with to-die-for acoustics.  I refer to the Abbey Church connected to a Benedictine Abbey 20 miles to the east of us.  You can see part of the ceiling in the header photo. The church was built in 1906-1910 in the Bavarian Romanesque style.  They have a new pipe organ.

The sound was especially gorgeous for O magnum mysterium, a choral piece published in 1572 by Tomas Luis de Victoria.  The church provided just the right acoustic space that the piece was written for.  Look at the header photo and imagine how the sound goes up, fills the church, and then circles back to listeners’ ears from those round ceiling sections.

I remember when I was in the Concordia College concert band we had to play inside an enormous, concrete, sugar beet warehouse for the warehouse dedication in Moorhead, MN.  We played a Sousa march, and the place echoed so much that we had to play every note staccato. I can still hear the horrible echoes. Tonight was a delight.

What are your experiences with acoustics and sounds? What are good and not so good sound spaces you have encountered?

Let’s All Go to the Lobby

The holiday movie season has started; I just saw that Fantastic Beasts 2 is out now. I will admit that I haven’t yet seen the first Fantastic Beasts; I’m a marginal Potter fan so not excited about seeing it in a theatre with the cost that entails.  But the concept of a pre-Harry world is appealing to me so I’m looking forward to seeing it one of these days when Netflix or one of the cable companies picks it up.

Who would star in a prequel of YOUR life? Theme song?

 

Hunter’s Moon

There was a beautiful full moon last night-The Hunter’s Moon. It is the second full moon of autumn, and was named by the Algonquin tribes as the moon for the time to go hunting and prepare for winter. The sky was quite clear and the moon was huge as I drove home from work at 7:00.  It had an orange tint.  The night before last it was almost full, and there were wavy wisps of clouds in front of the moon, making it look like the perfect backdrop for a a witch on a broom.

Tell about all the books, plays, stories, poems, and music you know of that are concerned with the moon. What are your own moon stories? Why is the moon so inspiring?

 

Who’s Gonna Patronize the Big Box Store Any More?

My riff on the weekend topic.

With humble gratitude for Meredith Wilson’s en-chant-ing opening to The Music Man.

PROGRAMMER 1:
Plastic for the orders.
Plastic for the downloads.
PROGRAMMER 2:
Visa for online.
Visa on the phone.
PROGRAMMER 1:
Credit for the software.
Credit for the hardware.
PROGRAMMER 2:
Credit for the needs, and the wants, and the bibelots.
PROGRAMMER 3:
Amazon for the hogs feet, cakes and longjohns.
Amazon for the crackers, and the pickles, and the computer paper.
PROGRAMMER 4:
Look, what do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
PROGRAMMER 5:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
PROGRAMMER 2:
You can script, you can program, you can script,
You can chat. You can twitter, twitter, twitter, you can chat.
You can chat. You can chat, chat, chat, chat, twitter, twitter, twitter.
You can twitter all you wanna, but it’s different than it was.
ANALYST:
No it ain’t, no it ain’t, but you gotta know the database!
PROGRAMMER 3:
Well, it’s Jeff Bezos made the trouble,
Made the people wanna buy, wanna get, wanna get, wanna get it in a box.
7,8,9,10,12,14, 22, 23 orders to the front porch.
PROGRAMMER 1:
Yes, sir, yes, sir!
PROGRAMMER 3:
Who’s gonna patronize a big box store anymore?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
NEWSPAPER READER 1:
Where do you get it?
ANALYST:
It’s not Amazon alone.
Take a gander at big box stores,
At the postmodern store,
At the out-of-date store
At the passe, postmodern,
Departmentalized big box store.
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
CONSULTANT:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
CONSULTANT:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 1:
You can chat, you can twitter.
You can chat, you can twitter.
You can twitter, twitter, twitter
You can chat, chat, chat.
You can twitter all you wanna,
But it’s different than it was.
ANALYST:
No, it ain’t, but you gotta know the database.
PROGRAMMER 3:
Why, it’s I-need-it-easy thinking
Made the trouble
Need it easy, need it easy.
Put the order in a box, in a box,
What I-need-easy
In a box with a smile
Made the big box store obsolete.
ANALYST:
Obsolete, obsolete, obsolete
SALESMAN 4:
Malls out the window.
The smiling box
Takes the job of the sales clerk.
Closing all the stores.
ANALYST:
Who’s gonna patronize the big box store any more?
PROGRAMMER 3:
Gone, Gone
PROGRAMMER 1:
Gone with the mall and the outlet and the discount store.
Gone with the chain and the retail store with clothes on a rack.
ALL
Who’s gonna patronize a bog box store any more.
Big box store.

What are the long-term implications for America and the world, assuming  I dare worry about the world? 

What follows the Amazon era?

 

Anger Management

My husband is a gentle, scholarly person somewhat lacking in manual dexterity and mechanical know-how.  He married into a family of impatient, dexterous, mechanically inclined hot-heads. The Boomgaardens are famous for their tempers.  I have a farmer cousin noted for throwing tools. I have great aunts who had hair pulling fights in ditches. I have great uncles who shot at each other with rifles.  I manage to keep my temper pretty well, but last weekend was a challenge for me. I am thankful no one got hurt.

It was hot last weekend. We did a lot of outside work in the yard over a four day period. It involved planting seeds and shrubs, spreading mulch, laying out soaker hoses and sprinklers, digging holes, and maneuvering around piles of bagged topsoil, composted manure, and bales of peat moss with tools and wheel barrows. For each task I saw clearly how we had to do it, in what order, and what physical and mechanical actions had to be taken. I was pretty driven to get it done as fast as we could before the heat of the day made it unbearable to work outside.  When I get like that, I forget my theory of mind, and assume that everyone around me sees the tasks and the procedures that need to be accomplished exactly the same way I see it. I get impatient when the people I am working with don’t seem to get it the way I get it, when they fumble around and look ineffectual and dithering.  As Husband said “You do things and you don’t explain what you are doing until afterwards.”  Why should I have to explain what I am doing if it is plain what has to be done?!! Why can’t you think like I think?!!

A very alarming ear worm took hold last Friday as I became increasingly frustrated with Husband and his inability to read my mind.  I decided I had better sit down and have glass of water and reel in my temper. I have no idea from what odd recess of my brain I dredged this up:

The chorus from this went through my head all weekend.  It made me laugh at myself and my irrational assumptions, and forced me to see how unreasonable I can be.  Perhaps all anger management classes should include Broadway musical soundtracks.

How do you manage your temper? What is the angriest you have been? What is your favorite Broadway song at the moment?